What Is Whooping Cough (Pertussis)?
Most children â€“ and most adults â€“ manage to pick up at least one bout of the common cold during the winter months.
And most of us know enough about the common cold not to worry too much about them.
However, itâ€™s important to be alert to the possibility that our children may have picked up something more serious.
The early stages of whooping cough look like a regular cold â€“ runny nose, sneezing, slight coughing and a mild fever.
However, it is more serious and longer lasting, and may require treatment with antibiotics.
Unfortunately, by the time a parent usually realises that their child has whooping cough, the disease may have been spread to other children and to other family members.
One of the common names for whooping cough or pertussis is the â€œhundred day coughâ€?.
Whooping cough doesnâ€™t necessarily last 100 days, but it can last up to eight weeks before it clears by itself â€“ and even shorter episodes can seem like forever to a parent.
The key sign of whooping cough is that the patient suffers from coughing fits.
These coughing fits are much more serious than a prolonged session of coughing when the body tries to rid itself from phlegm in the respiratory passages.
In pertussis, the coughing fits are triggered by many common actions, such as laughing, shouting, yawning, eating or stretching.
The coughing fit is so intense that when the child coughing tries to draw an inward breath, the air rushes in with a whooping sound â€“ hence the name whooping cough.
After the coughing fit has passed, vomiting is common.
In between coughing fits, the child can seem quite normal and happy. So can adults, who are also susceptible to pertussis.
Some adults may not be aware that they have the condition, as they are less likely to make the whooping sound when they draw breath.
You may wonder why whooping cough is worth worrying about.
While prolonged coughing is a nuisance while it goes on â€“ to say nothing of the vomiting afterwards â€“ is it really a big deal?
Yes, it is. It can kill.
Especially in kids, whooping cough is a red alert for parents. Know more information at www.fridayschildmontessori.com